Starr is sixteen-years-old and lives in two different worlds. One being the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised. The other is her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance she has between the two worlds is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now Starr must watch what she says as it could destroy her community, or it could also get her killed.
I don’t think any review I write will give this book the justice it deserves but I must get my thoughts out somehow! After I went to an Angie Thomas event back in 2017, I knew I had to read this book. I don’t know why it has taken me so long to read it, but it is certainly worth the read! This book is important, timely and needs to be picked up by so many people.
This book is emotionally-charged, well-written and a book you won’t be able to put down. The Hate U Give is certainly inspired by the “Black Lives Matter” movement and it goes deep into a subject that needed to be discussed, the shootings of unarmed black people by police officers, as well as racial bias in the justice system. This book certainly opened my eyes to a lot of things that I had never considered about white privilege.
I did not relate to any of the situations that the characters are going through but I feel that this is not only because I am white but also because I live in the UK. The police officers over here do not carry guns around with them and it terrifies me that in America that is the norm. I cannot imagine being pulled over by the police to be greeted by a gun attached to their belt. None of this means that this book didn’t affect me or that it has made an impact to how I think. IT means that it impacted me even more.
This book tells of how Starr deals with the aftermath of being the witness of her best friend being shot by a police officer for doing nothing wrong. Starr’s fear is constantly show and is reasonable as she is confronting a system that she knows is working against her. Starr is scared to speak out but she is also angry with how Khalil’s murderer could escape justice. Through Starr’s eyes we as readers see how the media presents a young black man in the news. Guilty until proven innocent. We also see that when you are poor, black and from a rough neighbourhood it is almost impossible to appear innocent.
Not only does this book focus on Starr, the young scared girls perspective, it focuses on a lot more. A loving family, complicated friendships with both races and being in a relationship. These story lines run alongside the fight for justice and they do not take away from the main story line in anyway. Angie Thomas has done an excellent job in portraying complex relationships between all the characters in this book. Especially given the divides that are seen between Starr and her white classmates. Not once are any of these character one-dimensional or cliche.
Overall, this book needs to be read by everyone. It breaks your heart but can also warm it back up again. It is an eye-opening novel that I couldn’t put down. This books needs to be placed into everyone’s hands!